Intention vs. Resolution

Why not join us and start this year of yoga by grounding yourself on the edge of your January mat, taking a moment to check in, and setting your sankalpa for 2009?

From a yogic point of view, the process of setting a sankalpa (an intention) goes a little like this. Step one: set a positive intention, focusing on the results you want, rather than thinking about what you don’t want (as tends to be the case when we set New Year’s resolutions). Step two: let it go. The Universe conspires on our behalf. Where energy is placed, the Universe augments it.

At a workshop I recently attended, Anusara teacher Sianna Sherman told a story from Mary Poppins to illustrate this point. The two children in the story were putting together their wish-list of characteristics for the new nanny their father was seeking for them. They poured their heart and soul into the list and gave it to their father. Of course, the characteristics that were important to the children “rosy cheeks, pleasing disposition, etc” did not feature in their father’s priorities and so the list ended up torn to shreds in the fireplace. As luck would have it, a fierce wind picked up the bits of paper and carried them all the way to Mary Poppins where they were reassembled so she could read it. She then sought out the family and much to the children’s delight, went on to become their nanny.

As this rather simple story illustrates, we need to set our intention with all the positive energy and fervor we can muster and then step back to let the winds of grace lift it. We humans try to muscle our way towards New Year’s resolutions, to make something happen by sheer force of will. And if it doesn’t happen, we give up. Hence we see the old familiar pattern of setting New Year’s resolutions only to abandon them three weeks later.

When you set a sankalpa, you let go of the fruits of your actions. Letting go of the results doesn’t mean you aren’t working towards goals. It means knowing where you’re heading, then identifying your edge, where your human capabilities end and riding that edge, making small adjustments in response to the ever-changing circumstances. In effect you simply invest in the process, rather than clinging to the outcomes.

The Universe supports us in whatever path we take, whether that’s positive or negative. If we choose a positive direction, we can trust that the Universe will respond in kind, creating an exponential effect on our energy. We just have to choose our direction, make a sincere but sustainable effort and then wait for the updraft to augment our efforts.

~ Kelly Fisher

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